In a recently decided divorce case, the Florida Court of Appeal decided who gets to keep the family home when there is a divorce. In a case captioned Walker v. Walker, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that as a general rule, absent special circumstances, the trial court should award to the primary residential parent exclusive use and possession of the marital home until the youngest child reaches the age of majority or is emancipated, or the primary residential parent remarries. Special circumstances include where the parties' combined incomes are insufficient to meet their normal living expenses, obligations, debts and the cost of maintaining the marital home. Exclusive use and occupancy will not be awarded where the former husband and former wife do not have a sufficient combined income to maintain the marital home and meet their obligations. Florida statutes require courts to assess the desirability of maintaining the marital home as a place for the children to live when it is equitable to do so, it is financially feasible, and it is in the children's best interest. In reaching this decision, divorce courts are to first decide whether it is in the best interest of the children to stay in the marital home, and, if not, whether other equities are served by giving the other spouse exclusive use and possession of the parties' marital home.
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